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WWI Pilot Wearing TWO Wings!

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What do you guys make of this one? Talk about screwing with future generations of historians :blink:

 

-Chuck

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WANTED!

WWI Aero Squadron items such as insignia, uniforms & my favorite- PHOTOS! Will purchase or work out a possible trade

HIGHLY SOUGHT- Anything related to the AEF Photo Sections or 85th,258th & 278th Aero Squadrons.

To be alone, to have your life in your own hands, to use your own skill, single-handed, against the enemy. It was like the lists of the Middle Ages, the only sphere in modern warfare where a man saw his adversary and faced him in mortal combat, the only sphere where there was still chivalry and honour. If you won, it was your own bravery and skill; if you lost, it was because you had met a better man
-Cecil Lewis


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Prior service as an observer with the RAF, or some other Commonwealth air arm?


Gil Burket
Omaha, NE
Specializing in Fakes and Reproductions
of the Vietnam War

[email protected]

 

"One is easily fooled by that which one loves."

 

Moliere: Tartuffe

 

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That is a US observer wing. It is NOT RFC. I would supposed that he qualified as both a pilot and an observer.

 

Allan


Never under-estimate the power of prayer.

 

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My guess is he was among the combat observers that were offered pilot training after the wars end. I have a uniform from a similar well decorated observer that completed and rated pilot wings.. Cool image Paul


 

Si vis pacem, para bellum

 

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Patrick -

Thanks for taking a look at my image. I was hoping to hear from the wing experts about a possible manufacturer of those wings.

Admittedly, I never studied wing variations before. So your comments are most welcomed. When I get a chance to compare the original image with the links you provided, I will certainly give it a shot.

Also, thanks to the other USMF members for commenting on this unusual pic. It is certainly a head scratcher...

- Chuck


WANTED!

WWI Aero Squadron items such as insignia, uniforms & my favorite- PHOTOS! Will purchase or work out a possible trade

HIGHLY SOUGHT- Anything related to the AEF Photo Sections or 85th,258th & 278th Aero Squadrons.

To be alone, to have your life in your own hands, to use your own skill, single-handed, against the enemy. It was like the lists of the Middle Ages, the only sphere in modern warfare where a man saw his adversary and faced him in mortal combat, the only sphere where there was still chivalry and honour. If you won, it was your own bravery and skill; if you lost, it was because you had met a better man
-Cecil Lewis


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Nice photo.

 

He is wearing a discharge chevron but no Victory Medal ribbon. I would guess the photo was taken in the back yard immediately after he returned home in 1919.

 

Can we assume wearing two different wings at the same time was contrary to regulations ?

 

 

 

Wharf


In Peace and War, US Merchant Marine. WARNING: Dangerous Cargo. No Visitors, No Smoking, No Open Lights.

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Wharf - that is a very safe assumption...


WANTED!

WWI Aero Squadron items such as insignia, uniforms & my favorite- PHOTOS! Will purchase or work out a possible trade

HIGHLY SOUGHT- Anything related to the AEF Photo Sections or 85th,258th & 278th Aero Squadrons.

To be alone, to have your life in your own hands, to use your own skill, single-handed, against the enemy. It was like the lists of the Middle Ages, the only sphere in modern warfare where a man saw his adversary and faced him in mortal combat, the only sphere where there was still chivalry and honour. If you won, it was your own bravery and skill; if you lost, it was because you had met a better man
-Cecil Lewis


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My guess is he was among the combat observers that were offered pilot training after the wars end. I have a uniform from a similar well decorated observer that completed and rated pilot wings.. Cool image Paul

 

That is a strong possibility - I have a Sterling Silver 1919 pilot badge back marked From Official Die that belonged to 2/Lt. Paul C. Wienge from Augusta, Ga. During World War One he was an Observer with the 91st Aero Squadron and wore a French embroidered U.S. Observer wing; however, after the war and while still stationed overseas, he received additional training to become a pilot and won his duel wings.

 

In regard to the two wings on the officers uniform in the picture. The image is too grainy to tell who might have made them but since both badges appear to be made of Sterling Silver it's probably a good bet that he never went overseas.

 

Can it be assumed that wearing two different wings at the same time was contrary to regulations? Well we can be certain of one thing. . . there was never anything written in regulations against it. In addition to that, remember that a number of U. S. pilots who received their training in France wore both a metal French pilot brevet on the right side of their uniform and an American pilot embroidered wing on the left side.

 

Cliff


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Chuck,

Thank you for posting another terrific image from your wonderful collection of U.S. Aviation-related photographs! Even though you may not be a wing collector per se, your photographic contributions really add substance and meaning to this section of the Forum!


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Great Photo !!!! Blue Skies Mark


In Memory of Air Corps Technical Sergeant Carl F. Durfee. He died of wounds on 30 December 1944 while serving in the South Pacific. You are not forgotten.

ASMIC member

American Legion member

US Air Force & Air National Guard TAC - MAC

JOHN N. DANIELS ---152nd COMPANY C New York State Infantry--- captured 1864 survivor of Andersonville ---- Great-Great-Great Uncle

Captain Robert L. Hosler, 522nd Fighter/Bomber Sq. 12th Army Air Corp. World War Two P47 Pilot - 1 DFC- 5 Air Medal & 0ne Purple Heart---Uncle

1st Sgt Ann Barry, US Army Air Corp WAC World War Two --ETO --- Aunt

Sgt Willam M. Barry, USMC----Pacific World War Two--Father





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You are very welcome. It's a great pleasure to share the visual evidence with other wing nuts and aviation buffs.

 

Cliff - thanks for replying to this post. I was hoping for your commentary. It never fails that I come away learning something new each time...

 

- Chuck


WANTED!

WWI Aero Squadron items such as insignia, uniforms & my favorite- PHOTOS! Will purchase or work out a possible trade

HIGHLY SOUGHT- Anything related to the AEF Photo Sections or 85th,258th & 278th Aero Squadrons.

To be alone, to have your life in your own hands, to use your own skill, single-handed, against the enemy. It was like the lists of the Middle Ages, the only sphere in modern warfare where a man saw his adversary and faced him in mortal combat, the only sphere where there was still chivalry and honour. If you won, it was your own bravery and skill; if you lost, it was because you had met a better man
-Cecil Lewis


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That is a strong possibility - I have a Sterling Silver 1919 pilot badge back marked From Official Die that belonged to 2/Lt. Paul C. Wienge from Augusta, Ga. During World War One he was an Observer with the 91st Aero Squadron and wore a French embroidered U.S. Observer wing; however, after the war and while still stationed overseas, he received additional training to become a pilot and won his duel wings.

 

In regard to the two wings on the officers uniform in the picture. The image is too grainy to tell who might have made them but since both badges appear to be made of Sterling Silver it's probably a good bet that he never went overseas.

 

Can it be assumed that wearing two different wings at the same time was contrary to regulations? Well we can be certain of one thing. . . there was never anything written in regulations against it. In addition to that, remember that a number of U. S. pilots who received their training in France wore both a metal French pilot brevet on the right side of their uniform and an American pilot embroidered wing on the left side.

 

Cliff

He's wearing three overseas chevrons confirming 18 months overseas. Bobgee


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"I have only two men out of my company and 20 out of some other company. We need support, but it is almost suicide to try to get it here as we are swept by machine gun fire and constant barrage is on us. I have no one on my left and only a few on my right. I will hold." (Message sent by 1st Lt. Clifton B. Cates. USMC, 96th Co., Soissons, 19 July 1918 - later 19th Commandant of the Marine Corps 1948-1952)

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He's wearing three overseas chevrons confirming 18 months overseas. Bobgee

They could be silver chevrons for stateside service.

 

Chris


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Chris -

Funny you should mention that...I have a sneaky suspicion those are silver chevrons

-Chuck


WANTED!

WWI Aero Squadron items such as insignia, uniforms & my favorite- PHOTOS! Will purchase or work out a possible trade

HIGHLY SOUGHT- Anything related to the AEF Photo Sections or 85th,258th & 278th Aero Squadrons.

To be alone, to have your life in your own hands, to use your own skill, single-handed, against the enemy. It was like the lists of the Middle Ages, the only sphere in modern warfare where a man saw his adversary and faced him in mortal combat, the only sphere where there was still chivalry and honour. If you won, it was your own bravery and skill; if you lost, it was because you had met a better man
-Cecil Lewis


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Chris -

Funny you should mention that...I have a sneaky suspicion those are silver chevrons

-Chuck

Chuck,

 

Are you holding out on us... By all means please share! Do you, perhaps, own this uniform, or know something about this young pilot?

 

Chris


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Chris -

Neither. I have absolutely nothing to go on, besides the comments posted here.

I was guessing silver chevrons because the tone of their reflection looks much like either of those silver wings. But I've long learned trying to decipher colors, tones, etc...in these old b/w images is very tricky at best.


WANTED!

WWI Aero Squadron items such as insignia, uniforms & my favorite- PHOTOS! Will purchase or work out a possible trade

HIGHLY SOUGHT- Anything related to the AEF Photo Sections or 85th,258th & 278th Aero Squadrons.

To be alone, to have your life in your own hands, to use your own skill, single-handed, against the enemy. It was like the lists of the Middle Ages, the only sphere in modern warfare where a man saw his adversary and faced him in mortal combat, the only sphere where there was still chivalry and honour. If you won, it was your own bravery and skill; if you lost, it was because you had met a better man
-Cecil Lewis


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Paul -

Good point. That does push me more towards an overseas pilot, but not by much...

I have a stateside aviator studio portrait wearing the Sam Browne. Then there's a neat photo of Lt. Ormer Locklear (aka The Great Waldo Pepper), that was taken stateside of Lt. Locklear wearing his Sam Browne with two silver OS chevrons. You see, Lt. Locklear never made it overseas, yet was allowed to wear the Sam Browne as a stateside flight instructor. If I find that picture again, I'll certainly post it.

But I do believe these two examples are rare exceptions to that rule of thumb we aviation historians hold dear.

- Chuck


WANTED!

WWI Aero Squadron items such as insignia, uniforms & my favorite- PHOTOS! Will purchase or work out a possible trade

HIGHLY SOUGHT- Anything related to the AEF Photo Sections or 85th,258th & 278th Aero Squadrons.

To be alone, to have your life in your own hands, to use your own skill, single-handed, against the enemy. It was like the lists of the Middle Ages, the only sphere in modern warfare where a man saw his adversary and faced him in mortal combat, the only sphere where there was still chivalry and honour. If you won, it was your own bravery and skill; if you lost, it was because you had met a better man
-Cecil Lewis


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Lt. Shirley Short and Lt. Ormer Locklear (right) at Barron Field ca. 1919

post-518-0-21073700-1447824755.jpeg


WANTED!

WWI Aero Squadron items such as insignia, uniforms & my favorite- PHOTOS! Will purchase or work out a possible trade

HIGHLY SOUGHT- Anything related to the AEF Photo Sections or 85th,258th & 278th Aero Squadrons.

To be alone, to have your life in your own hands, to use your own skill, single-handed, against the enemy. It was like the lists of the Middle Ages, the only sphere in modern warfare where a man saw his adversary and faced him in mortal combat, the only sphere where there was still chivalry and honour. If you won, it was your own bravery and skill; if you lost, it was because you had met a better man
-Cecil Lewis


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I am not how much weight to give this, but I had heard that it was relatively rare to see pilots who were overseas wearing metal wings. It is much more common to see overseas pilots with the bullion wings. However, I suspect that many exceptions to that "rule" exist. But taking that at face value, it may lend credence to the idea that this was a stateside pilot, not an overseas pilot.

 

Also, from what I can see, the observer wing looks to be bullion, is that true or do you think that they are metal?

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I had heard that it was relatively rare to see pilots who were overseas wearing metal wings. It is much more common to see overseas pilots with the bullion wings. However, I suspect that many exceptions to that "rule" exist. But taking that at face value, it may lend credence to the idea that this was a stateside pilot, not an overseas pilot.

 

With regards to metal wings worn during WW1.

 

While the regulations were much more relaxed stateside that was not the case overseas were the Army went strictly by the book which meant that only bullion embroidered wings could be worn on the uniform and no exceptions were allowed. . . if caught.

 

Cliff


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I believe I may have seen one or two photos of overseas pilots wearing metal wings, but it is rare. The fact is, to my knowledge, there are no WWI vintage metal pilot wings that were positively known to have been made in France, Italy or England. Cliff or Russ may know of some examples, but I had a conversation a few years ago with the Wing King and he couldn't identify any foreign-made metal wings either.

 

There is a story of in one of the books on WWI aviators (I can't recall which one) where the author talks about one of the newly arrived pilots from Stateside gambling away his metal pilot wings for bullion wings so that he could be more like the "old hands". I think it was in a book about Frank Luke.

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Patrick -

I can't be certain if they're bullion or not. I'm leaning towards bullion...

I was also very intrigued by there being no bona fide examples of overseas manufactured US aviator wings. It left me scratching my head. Yet we all know of the various examples of foreign made aviation collar insignia. Very weird...

Now Cliff, I'm sure glad you threw that caveat at the end about metal wings not being worn overseas ("...if caught"). I do have a couple of photographic examples of pilots breaking this rule, the least of which show aviation NCOs clearly wearing wings above their left breast pockets. Unfortunately, the image(s) are just blurry enough to rule out if they're bullion...or not.

- Chuck


WANTED!

WWI Aero Squadron items such as insignia, uniforms & my favorite- PHOTOS! Will purchase or work out a possible trade

HIGHLY SOUGHT- Anything related to the AEF Photo Sections or 85th,258th & 278th Aero Squadrons.

To be alone, to have your life in your own hands, to use your own skill, single-handed, against the enemy. It was like the lists of the Middle Ages, the only sphere in modern warfare where a man saw his adversary and faced him in mortal combat, the only sphere where there was still chivalry and honour. If you won, it was your own bravery and skill; if you lost, it was because you had met a better man
-Cecil Lewis


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With regards to metal wings worn during WW1.

 

While the regulations were much more relaxed stateside that was not the case overseas were the Army went strictly by the book which meant that only bullion embroidered wings could be worn on the uniform and no exceptions were allowed. . . if caught.

 

Cliff

 

I don't doubt there are some impromptu images and privately purchased studio photographs of USAS Pilots in France wearing metal wings during WWI. But as a litmus test to Cliff's statement above, I'd like to share this original 1918 group photograph I have of the A.E.F. Second Aviation Instruction Center, Tours, France.

 

Unfortunately, it doesn't copy well, but this large photograph, in hand, has wonderful resolution and clarity. With a 10X loop, I was able to see, with excellent detail, about ninety percent of the badges worn by this group of over one hundred U.S. Pilots... and every one of them is wearing a bullion Pilot's badge!

 

 

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